Friday, March 28, 2008

Lee Evans: Suicide Song

Lee Evans encore performance which is based around the fact that he wants to kill himself but alwayts fails. RT 7:36 and NSFW (language).

Bulletproof "anti-terrorist" bed with air-supply, toilet

This appears not to be a joke: the Quantum Sleeper is a bed that hermetically seals itself as you sleep to protect you from "Bio-Chemical terrorist attack," "natural disaster," "kidnappers/stalkers" (only those who don't possess a forklift, surely) and affords "Bulletproof 'Saferoom' protection."

1.25" Polycarbonate Bulletproof Plating/Shielding
Bio-Chemical Filtered Ventilation
Control Panel Mode Selection (i.e., Basic System Ops., Intruder Setting, Energy Status, Lock Down, etc.)
Cover & Door Actuators w/ Emergency Release
One way see through head cover (reflective mirror on 2 sides and front)
Safety Features (Proximity Sensor, O2 Sensor, Smoke Det., Motion Det. Ect,)
Emergency Communication system (Cellular, Short-wave Radio, CB ect.)
Audio Amplifier (Amplify sound from out side unit)

Air/Water Tight Sealing
External Override Key Pad & Remote Control
Battery Backup Power
Toiletry system

Monday, March 24, 2008

Excessive emails and text are a mental illness

PEOPLE who send excessive texts and emails may have a mental illness, according to an article in a leading psychiatric journal.

As more people leave the office computer, only to log on as soon as they get home, the American Journal of Psychiatry has found addiction to text messaging and emailing could be another form of mental illness.

The article, by Dr Jerald Block, said there were four symptoms: suffering from feelings of withdrawal when a computer cannot be accessed; an increased need for better equipment; need for more time to use it; and experiencing the negative repercussions of their addiction.

Dr Block said that although text messaging was not directly linked to the Internet, it was a form of instant messaging and needed to be included among the criteria.

"The chief reasons I see to consider it are motor vehicle accidents that are caused by cell phone instant messaging, stalking and harassment via instant messaging, and instant messaging at social, educational, (and) work functions where it creates problems," he said.

"It should be a pervasive and problematic pattern, though, not isolated incidents."

Leanne Battaglia, 21, said she would not classify herself as being clinically addicted to online communication, but could see how quickly the problem could develop.

"It's become a way of life now, but I don't think it's at that stage yet," Ms Battaglia said.

Despite sitting at a computer all day, the sales consultant admits she will often log on again when she gets home.

"I use it almost every night and during the day. I'm pretty much always on Facebook, eBay, ninemsn and gossip sites."

Ms Battaglia also sends about 20 text messages a day.

"I swear by my mobile, it's like a security blanket. I just feel really bare without it," she said.

Dr Robert Kaplan, a forensic psychiatrist at the Graduate School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, said he first saw a case of internet addiction in 1998.

Since that time, he has noticed a steady increase in the disorder among Australians.

According to a report titled Media And Communications In Australian Families 2007, the average child spends about one hour and 17 minutes on the internet each day, with teenagers aged 15 to 17 spending an average of 30 minutes sending text messages and another 25 minutes playing online games.

"I think in general it's escalating," Dr Kaplan said. "We now all live in an internet world, and it brings with it a range of problems."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Writers Who Suffered From the Sylvia Plath Effect

Writers Who Suffered From the Sylvia Plath Effect

By StacyBee on writers

I’m in a book club (we’re looking for a quirky-yet-clever name for ourselves if anyone has any suggestions) and last week we discussed The Bell Jar. It’s one of those books we all felt we should have read at some point during our high school careers and never did, so it was long overdue. In my research about the similarities between the book’s main character and the book’s author I came across something called Sylvia Plath effect.

It’s a relatively new theory in the world of psychology – in 2001, James Kaufman conducted a study that showed creative writers, especially female poets, are more susceptible to mental illness than other types of professions.

Being a female writer (not a poet, though), I was understandably interested in this theory. There really is a disproportionate amount of writers who have committed suicide over the years, so to brighten your day I thought I’d look at a few of them here.

Sylvia Plath
photo from A.J. Marik via Find a Grave

It makes sense to start with the theory’s namesake, I think. For those of you who haven’t read The Bell Jar, it’s a thinly disguised autobiography about one girl’s spiral into depression including suicide attempts, hospital stays and shock treatment therapy.

The bell jar is used as a metaphor for the feeling the main character has when she’s going through her depression – she feels like she’s trapped under a bell jar, stifled and numb. Sylvia predicted her own future when she wrote from the perspective of her protagonist – “How did I know that someday - at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere - the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?”

Despite marriage, children, a successful career as a poet and a promising one as a novelist, Sylvia’s own bell jar did descend again. On February 11, 1963, she killed herself by putting her head in the oven with the gas on.

Virginia Woolf

Poor Virginia Woolf seemed doomed from the start. She suffered a nervous breakdown when her mother died when Virginia was just 13. Her father died just nine years later, causing another breakdown which resulted in a brief period of institutionalization. She and her sister were subjected to sexual abuse by their half brothers, which certainly did not help her state of mind.

On March 28, 1941, Virginia decided she had had enough, loaded up her pockets with heavy rocks and walked into the River Ouse near her home. Judging by her symptoms and behavior, modern-day doctors think she probably suffered from bipolar disorder.

Sara Teasdale
photo from quebecoise via Find a Grave

Sara Teasdale was a talented poet, which, according to James Kaufman, put her at a serious disadvantage when it came to battling depression. In 1918, she won the Columbia University Poetry Society Prize, which was the precursor to the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Toward the end of the 1920s, though, things headed downhill for Sara. The Great Depression hit the same year she decided to divorce her husband.
Plagued by financial problems, her close friend and former suitor Vachel Lindsay killed himself by drinking Lysol in 1931. Vachel was a poet, so you could say his suicide contributes to Kaufman’s theory that creative writers are more susceptible to mental illness.
In 1933, Sara reunited with Vachel when she took an overdose of sleeping pills in her apartment in New York City, drew herself a warm bath and never got out of it.

Anne Sexton

Anne was never shy about admitting to her mental health problems and openly talked about her lifelong battle with bipolar disorder. She was somewhat of an instant success in her poetic career – after attending a workshop taught by poet John Holmes, she immediately had poems published in The New Yorker, Harper’s and the Saturday Review. By attending workshops and adopting a writing mentor, Anne became friends with poets such as Maxine Kumin, W.D. Snodgrass and none other than Sylvia Plath. She was such close friends with Sylvia, in fact, that she wrote a poem entitled Sylvia’s Death about, well, Sylvia’s death. She outlived Sylvia by 11 years, though – on October 4, 1974, Anne had lunch with Maxine, returned home and killed herself by sitting in her garage with the door down and the gas running.

Sarah Kane
Photo from

Kaufman’s theory holds up even with contemporary writers. Sarah Kane was a playwright and screenwriter who suffered from severe depression. She was voluntarily admitted twice to the Maudsley psychiatric hospital in London. She channeled her depression into plays which were performed by the Royal Court. Critics weren’t too impressed when the plays debuted which may have lead to her suicide in 1999. After an overdose of prescription medication landed her in King’s College Hospital but failed to kill her, she ended up hanging herself in a hospital bathroom.

So, that was morbid. But it does provide some supporting evidence for Kaufman’s Sylvia Plath effect. What do you think? Does the Sylvia Plath effect make sense? The other side of the coin is that there are a number of suicides with any occupation and these are just more public given the public nature of the work.